Cuts to local government budgets are affecting infrastructure. This is not just about police enforcement and fire departments. It’s fundamentally about a change (perhaps short-term, perhaps longer) in how these services are delivered. As we discussed last week, this could affect the nature of police response.
At the IACP-SACOP meeting, police officials reported on a number of these resource issues, and they are worth reiterating here today so the security industry thinks long and hard about how we can work together in support of greater public safety. Some of the points made included:
• Cuts in benefits/pension plans are significantly affecting the recruitment of new officers, resulting in less qualified candidates, higher turnover and greater difficulty in finding replacements.
• With reduced benefits, higher workloads, and increased morale issues, more officers are retiring early or leaving for other jobs, significantly lowering the overall level of experience in those agencies.
• With reduced hiring/slots and budget cuts, many police academies are being forced to shut down, with seasoned instructors having to retire or move on.
• Program cuts, supplies, lack of new or modern equipment make crime solving more difficult.
These are but a few of the issues raised at IACP-SACOP, and we’ll address a few more next week in our final installment on these series. For now, it’s important that we remain aware of these difficulties to ensure future relationships remain solid, and we base expectations on the reality police departments are facing around the country. There will be different circumstances, obviously, in each community. Stay informed. Keep in touch with what is going on in your city. It’s important for us all. And we’ll see you next week for our final installment. Let us know what you think by responding to this blog. Your voice can help yield answers.